Rabbis curse J'lem gay parade

Organizers vow to petition High Court if police nix proposed route for event.

By ETGAR LEFKOVITS
June 10, 2007 22:15
2 minute read.
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Jerusalem police commanders will announce their decision on Tuesday regarding whether to authorize a controversial gay pride parade in the city scheduled to take place next week, police said Sunday. Police have previously given conditional approval for the planned gay pride parade, but said that the event was subject to restrictions based on the situation on the ground. The annual parade, which is being organized by Jerusalem's Gay and Lesbian Center, is slated to take place in the capital on June 21. Meanwhile, rabbis from the extremist anti-Zionist Eda Haredit sect on Sunday placed a curse on the organizers of the parade and participants, and warned of a massive haredi protest to be held in Jerusalem next week against the event. "To all those involved, sinners in spirit, and whoever helps and protects them, may they feel a curse on their souls, may it plague them and may evil pursue them; they will not be requitted of their transgressions from heavenly judgment," the rabbinical message read. The police are due to give their final response to organizers' request to hold a parade through the streets of the city. An alternative being considered by police would be to confine it to a gathering. The prerogative for issuing permits for public events rests with the police, who could ban the event - or restrict it as they did last year - due to concerns over public safety. The Executive Director of Jerusalem's Gay and Lesbian Center Noa Sattath said Sunday that the organization would petition the High Court of Justice if the police nix their proposed parade route between two central parks in the city. The move would mirror similar legal action the organization took just last year. Last year's parade through the streets of Jerusalem was cancelled following weeks of violent haredi protests, and instead the event was confined to an enclosed city stadium to avoid clashes. The annual local parade, which draws several thousand participants every year, has been the source of repeated debate, with many religious city councilors and a not insignificant number of largely-traditional city residents considering such an event inappropriate for a "holy" city. Supporters of the parade counter that freedom of speech enables them to hold the event in Jerusalem, as a symbol of tolerance and pluralism, even if theirs is the view of the minority of residents in the city. The annual gay pride parade took place last week in Tel Aviv. A recent bill pending final authorization in the Knesset, which was proposed by two religious MKs, would give the Jerusalem Municipality the right to ban such events. The organization has held four previous gay parades in the city. A 2005 event ended in violence when a haredi man stabbed three participants. A public opinion poll found that three-quarters of Jerusalem residents were opposed to holding such events in the city.


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